The best UK cities for business meetings and why

Seasoned meeting planners will know that organising a successful corporate event is never an easy task.

Finding a venue suitable for the number of delegates is arguably THE most crucial part of getting it right. Once the venue’s booked, everything else can be built around it.

While the Covid-19 pandemic dented our ability to host face-to-face meetings, leading to reliance on video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, things are now gradually getting back to normal.

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According to research published in September 2021, employees are spending 15% of their working week in meetings again: on average, we’re spending four hours per week preparing for meetings, while managers spend 35% of their time in meetings. This figure has risen steadily every year since 2008.

As such an important part of our working life, meetings deserve the best venues, in the perfect locations, to enhance their chances of success. The UK has many top destinations to offer for meeting planners, including some of the best cities in the world, in terms of location and facilities.

1. London

London experienced massive improvements to its events infrastructure, hotel accommodation and transport system as a result of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It appears in just about every list of the top ten cities in the world for business meetings and it’s easy to see why.

When you’re looking for meeting rooms, London has the cream of the crop. Its transport system is unparalleled, with a wide variety of choices including five airports, multiple train and Tube stations, buses, taxis and more. The accommodation is as superior as the transport, with hotels suitable for all budgets, including luxury options.

When it comes to technology to help your meetings go smoothly, London has a world-leading reputation, with many venues boasting state-of-the-art equipment. There something for everyone, including video conferencing facilities to combine in-person and remote meetings.

After the meeting, delegates can head out and enjoy all that London has to offer. Entertainment options range from live concerts and West End theatre to sharing a meal at one of many top-class restaurants.

2. Birmingham

Birmingham is Britain’s second-largest city and has transformed itself into a major international business destination. Among professional events planners, it is the most popular destination after London for hosting conferences, corporate events and meetings, according to the British Meetings and Events Industry Survey. Meeting planners can choose from a huge array of corporate meeting, trade show and consumer show spaces.

The transport network includes Birmingham Airport, trains, coaches, trams, buses and taxis – swift Pay As You Go options are available to buy return, single and day tickets on the trams and buses by loading a card.

From fresh, modern meeting rooms to historic buildings full of character, the venues offer fast, free WiFi and the latest audio-visual technology.

For post-meeting entertainment, Birmingham is renowned for its wide choice of restaurants and pubs, as well as cultural attractions such as Birmingham Science Museum.

3. Manchester

As one of the fastest-growing cities and the fifth-largest UK financial centre, Manchester provides an inspiring selection of high-capacity event and exhibition venues. There’s a buzz around Manchester that makes it an exciting destination for event planners.

Manchester Airport is the global gateway to the North of England, with connections to more than 200 destinations worldwide. The city has an efficient rail network, with transport links also including trams, buses and plenty of taxis.

Known for having super-fast internet; in addition to venues offering excellent WiFi speeds and technology, if you need to stop off in a coffee shop or public place to check your email en route to the meeting, this won’t slow you down.

As well as having a vibrant nightlife for your post-meeting entertainment, including a multitude of restaurants, clubs and bars, Manchester is home to many visitor attractions such as the Science and Industry Museum, the Imperial War Museum North and the National Football Museum.

4. Southampton

Whether you’re planning a team-building exercise, a theatre-style presentation, a seminar or a product launch; the port city of Southampton, on England’s south coast, is gaining popularity as a place for corporate meetings and events.

Easily accessible on foot, thanks to the many pedestrian areas, the city is also bicycle-friendly. The council runs a pioneering e-scooter hire scheme. There is a reliable bus service, Southampton Central railway station, multiple taxi firms and Go-Mobility, specialising in taxi services for people with a disability.

Many business premises in Southampton have access to internet speeds 20 times faster than the national average, as part of the rollout of gigabit broadband.

For après-meeting fun, Southampton has a wide choice of restaurants, pubs and bars, with many vegetarian options. In terms of culture, it is home to the Sea City Museum and Southampton City Art Gallery.

5. Bristol

Bristol city centre provides the perfect solution for meeting employees and clients away from the office. You can enjoy the benefits of meeting and training rooms, that are available for as little as one hour.

Using all your high-tech essentials shouldn’t be a problem, as Bristol has one of the UK’s fastest broadband speeds of 73.96 Mbps – 11.9% faster than the average download speed.

Travelling to, around and from Bristol is simple, thanks to Bristol Airport, fast and convenient bus services, a park and ride scheme, train, taxi and ferry.

Enhance your experience by sampling some of the city’s leisure attractions such as the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol Beacon concert hall and the famous Bristol Shopping Quarter.

Wherever you choose to host your event, you should always aim to book the best meeting rooms in the UK’s finest cities. If you need some help getting it right, contact &Meetings on 0800 073 0499 or use our simple online booking system.

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